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3.2 - Why Needle Quality Matters

A record player’s needle, also often called its stylus, contains a piece of hard, unrefined diamond. The stylus picks vibrations up from a record as it spins, producing sound by routing to an amplifier through the turntable’s tonearm. 

Attached to the needle of a turntable is its cartridge, which is responsible for turning the vibrations read by the needle into electrical signals, which can then be reproduced as sound. A magnet in the record player’s cartridge generates an electrical current as the needle reads the grooves of a record, carrying the electrical signal to an amplifier.

If your turntable contains a low-quality needle and cartridge, it will have majorly compromised sound quality. One of the most important components of your turntable is its cartridge. A well-made cartridge can account for a large portion of the cost of a good record player and is well worth the investment. Poorly made needles and cartridges not only produce subpar sound, but they can also leave your records damaged over time. 

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